Serratore lifts Gophers past Tigers in third

serratoreNo. 4 Minnesota kept up the pressure and the Colorado College defense finally cracked, with hometown boy Tom Serratore scoring on a shot through traffic with 6:37 remaining in the third period to lift the visiting Gophers to a 4-2 victory on Friday night.

“For Tom, it’s big to score the game-winner in his hometown,” said Minnesota head coach Don Lucia. ”He has been such a good solider. We moved him up to the third line and he has been producing.”

The goal came 47 seconds after a CC clearing attempt failed and the tiring Tigers could not clear the zone before the puck ended up in front for a shot CC goalie Joe Howe did not appear to see clearly with the four players locked up in front screening him. Serratore, the son of Air Force head coach Frank Serratore, was happy to bang the loose puck in.

“It is always good to score against the Tigers,” he said.

Minnesota’s Zach Budish scored an empty-netter with 1:08 left for the final margin.

The loss drops CC to 1-5-1 in its last seven games during a stretch of 10 straight games against ranked opponents to close out the first half. The Tigers have struggled to close out the close games, dropping to 4-6-1 in one-goal games (not including empty-netters).

“We have to find a way to win those close games,” said Tigers head coach Scott Owens. “I like the team. It was 6:37 left and we were right there. I would like to see someone step up and take charge.”

The Tigers held a upperclassmen-only meeting following the loss.

The game was delayed for seven minutes when Minnesota defenseman Justin Holl broke the Zamboni door glass as he tried to check CC junior wing Archie Skalbeck. Holl went high, missed the crouching Skalbeck and busted the glass to the delight of the announced crowd of 7,021 fans at Colorado Springs World Arena with 2:43 left in the third.

The Tigers awoke from their slumber in the second period thanks to their top line.

Senior captain William Rapuzzi took a pass as he skated across the face of the Minnesota net and backhanded the puck past UM freshman goalie Adam Wilcox to tie the game at 2-2 headed into the third period.

The goal was CC’s second in only 101 seconds.

“There were good things,” Owens said. “I like how the defensive corps played after (sophomore Aaron) Harstad went down.”

Harstad is out with an undisclosed upper body injury and will not play on Saturday, Owens said.

Rapuzzi’s ninth goal of the season came with 3:22 left, only 1:41 after Archie Skalbeck, who made the pass to Rapuzzi, scored off a pretty crossing pass from senior Rylan Schwartz to spark the host Tigers only 1:45 after Minnesota’s Sam Warning scored his second goal of the night and season. Skalbeck’s score made it 2-1 Gophers.

Warning scored three seconds after a UM power play expired on a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle to stake the visiting Gophers to a 1-0 lead in the first period.

He added his second goal of the night and the season when he corralled a loose puck in the left faceoff circle and wristed the puck under CC goalie Joe Howe’s arm as he slid over.

“It’s good to see Sam score,” Lucia said. ‘He had been hurt (nine games, upper body injury) and it took him a couple games to get back to speed. We needed him to score those two big goals or we would not have won.”

UM out shot the host Tigers 12-4 in the first period, but CC came back with a superior effort in the second to trim the advantage to 20-15. The Tigers, which gave up 88 sots last weekend and the 97 two weeks ago made some progress by allowing only 31.

“We did a good job keeping out of the box,” Owens said. “We had 2-3 pretty good efforts late but either (freshman goalie Adam) Wilcox came up with a play or we could not convert. I would like to have us get one goal on the power play.”

Notes

U.S. national junior prelim camp roster invitee Brady Sjkel of Minnesota was a coach’s scratch on Friday. … The Gophers’ ranks were depleted by the flu. … The Tigers held a seniors-only meeting after the game. … Last night’s CC lineup was identical to the previous Friday when it beat No. 9 North Dakota 5-2. … Minnesota coach Don Lucia served as head coach at CC from 1993-99, leading the Tigers to three WCHA titles, a 1996 national runner-up finish and a return to the 1997 Frozen Four. … UM sophomore Kyle Rau, younger brother of former Tiger standout Kyle, is a good harbinger of the Gophers’ success. They are 10-0-0 this season when he records a point. The Gophers won for the first time when he did not record a point. … Erik Haula’s two assists makes it 11 games in a row with a point or more. … Baseball Hall of Famer “Goose” Gossage, a Colorado Springs native, dropped the ceremonial first puck before the game. … Rapuzzi has recorded a point in eight straight games.

No. 4 Minnesota 4, No. 19 Colorado College 2

Minnesota          1              1              2 —         4

Colorado College             0              2              0              –2

First period – 1. UM, Warming (Marshall, Reilly) , 7:36. Penalties – CC, Hamburg, hooking, 5:33; UM, Isackson, boarding, 12:51.

Second period – 2. UM, Warning (Schmidt) 13:12; 3. CC, Skalbeck (Schwartz, Rapuzzi) 14:57; 4. CC, Rapuzzi (Skalbeck, Schwartz) 16:38. Penalties – UM, Reilly, interference, 3:29; UM, Haula, unsportsmanlike conduct, 6:33; CC, Bradley, unsportsmanlike conduct, 6:33; UM, Serratore, charging, 10:12; UM, Rau, unsportsmanlike conduct 17:10; CC, Hanson, unsportsmanlike conduct, 17:10.

Third period – 5. Minnesota, Serratore (Budish, Haula), 13:23; 6. Minnesota, Budish (Condon) 18:52 (EN). Penalties – UM, Holl, tripping, 6:54; UM, Helgeson, roughing,  19:50; CC, Taft, roughing, boarding. 19:50.

Power play – Minnesota 0-2, Colorado College 0-4. Shots on goal – Minnesota 12-8-11 – 31; Colorado College 4-11-11 – 26. Saves-minutes – Minnesota, Wilcox 4-9-11 – 60:00; Colorado College, Howe 11-7-9 – 59:48. Referees – Bokai, Thul. Linesmen – Stankevich, Stodgell. Attendance – 7,021.

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WCHA roundup: Lucia records No. 600; Denver routs Air Force

No. 1 Minnesota 3, Michigan Tech 2

HOUGHTON — Sophomore forward Seth Ambroz scored twice to help Don Lucie secure his 600th career win as Minnesota skated to a 3-2 victory against Michigan Tech on Saturday at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

No. 7 Denver 5, Air Force 2

DENVER — Junior forward Nick Shore registered three goals and an assist to lead Denver to a 5-2 win against Air Force on Saturday night at Magness Arena.

No. 17 Northern Michigan 2, Nebraska Omaha 1

OMAHA — Junior forward Zahn Raubenheimer scored a goal but Nebraska Omaha was defeated by Northern Michigan, 2-1, on Saturday night at CenturyLink Center.

St. Cloud State 4, Alabama-Huntsville 0

ST. CLOUD — Senior forward Drew LeBlanc and sophomore defenseman Andrew Prochno each had a goal and an assist to help St. Cloud State earn a weekend sweep with a 4-0 win against Alabama Huntsville on Saturday at National Hockey Center.

Bemidji State 5, Lake Superior State 0

BEMIDJI — Sophomore goaltender Andrew Walsh stopped 25 shots and junior forward Radoslav Illo had a goal and an assist to lead Bemidji State to a 5-0 win against Lake Superior State on Saturday night at Sanford Center.

Minnesota State 5, RPI 4 OT

MANKATO — Senior forward Eriah Hayes scored at 1:09 of overtime to lift Minnesota State to a 4-3 win against Rensselaer on Saturday night at Verizon Wireless Center.

Alaska Anchorage 6, Merrimack 3

FAIRBANKS — Sophomore forward Scott Allen scored two goals and an assist and freshman forward Blake Tatchell added two goals to lead Alaska Anchorage to a 6-3 victory against Merrimack College on Saturday night at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush in Fairbanks

Weekend reading: Jaden Schwartz, Mankato, Minnesota, NHL negotiations, CHI, NCAA hockey in Lincoln?, outdoor ticket prices

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz could prove to be a real boon for AHL Peoria if he falls short of making the very deep Blues’ NHL roster.

A BCHL defenseman has committed to MSU-Mankato.

Minnesota players and coach Don Lucia took part in a Q&A session at the state fair recently.

The College Hockey News points out that colleges will likely not benefit from a new NHL CBA.

Here is CHN’s Q&A article with new College Hockey Inc. executive director Mike Snee, who looks to take on a more positive tone than his predecessor. Here is an interview with Snee by USCHO.

This Nebraska-Lincoln student columnist thinks UNL should add Division I hockey now that it is in the Big Ten.  Thanks to Goon’s World for finding that. I love the concept, but believe one of the reasons Nebraska-Omaha dropped football and wrestling was to focus on D1 hockey and avoid those kinds of conflicts with the nearby big school. It seems unlikely any school can afford adding a men’s varsity sport (two with a women’s program needed under Title IX) in the near future.

Wisconsin season ticket holders got a rude surprise when the outdoor game ticket prices were announced.

The Atlantic Hockey Association gave its commissioner a three-year contract extension.

Weekend reading: Stuart, Haula, PSU, North Dakota, Denver

Former Tiger Mark Stuart gets high praise as one of the NHL’s top 10 shutdown defensemen by Bleacher Report.

Minnesota’s Erik Haula ran afoul of the law recently. Fallout from the misdemeanor will be handled internally, coach Don Lucia said.

The North Dakota beat writer gives his take how Penn State hockey could be affected by the NCAA sanctions against the football program.

Former UND goalie Jordan Parise, brother of the more famous Zach, has seen his professional career go in a different direction.

A former Denver captain is back home playing for the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles. Luke Salazar is headed to Norway.

Wednesday reading: Denver-CC rebroadcast with video, rule changes, Lucia, Sioux nickname, Lagrone, Testwuide, Calder Cup broadcasts

A replay of CC’s overtime win over Denver (ended by Alexander Krushelnyski penalty shot goal) from early December will be broadcast at 11:30 a.m. Mountain on Sunday, June 17 on the CBS Sports Network.

Here’s the video of Krusher’s game-winner.

Here is a detailed look at the rule changes under consideration by the NCAA this week.

Minnesota coach Don Lucia hopes to have a repeat of the 2011-12 season.

North Dakota coaches spoke in favor of Measure 4 in the state’s June 12 ballot issue. They argue that it will hurt the university to retain the Sioux nickname. Here is another article on the press conferences being held around the state on Tuesday and Wednesday.

2013 CC commit Duggie Lagrone of the Des Moines Buccaneers was nominated for the USHL Scholar-Athlete Award.

Former Tiger Mike Testwuide continues to be a solid AHL player, according to Hockey’s Future, but has yet to make his NHL debut. I prediction it will happen this coming season. Here is a look at his prospects.

The Calder Cup Finals will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Note: Times listed in linked blog item are Eastern.

The Union coach received a contract extension.

A longtime Duluth hockey supporter passed away. A former Clarkson defenseman died in an accident in Switzerland. My condolences to both families.

Thursday reading: NCAA TV schedule, previews

Here is the TV schedule with available preview links, etc for each game following each match-up.

As always, check your local listings. Schedule copied from Kevin Pates’ Rink and Run blog,  with times adjusted:

ALL TIMES MOUNTAIN

East Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24) Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, Conn.
No. 1 Union (24-7-7) vs. No. 4 Michigan State (19-15-4), 1 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. ESPN analyst Barry Melrose, who lives in the area, gives hometown Union a lotta love.
No. 2 Miami (24-12-2) vs. No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell (23-12-1), 4:30 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. Former CC assistant Norm Bazin, the Hockey East Coach of the Year, is also CHN’s national honoree. Here are multiple notes and links courtesy of the RiverHawks sports information staff.
• Semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU.

Midwest Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24)
Resch Center, Green Bay, Wis.

No. 2 Ferris State (23-11-5) vs. No. 3 Denver (25-13-4), 3:30 p.m. Friday, live on Altitude (tape delay ESPNU, 10:30 p.m. Friday).DU freshman Joey LaLeggia is CHN’s Rookie of the Year. Here is a pdf of DU’s NCAA media guide which includes an injury update.

No. 1 Michigan (24-12-4) vs. No. 4 Cornell (18-8-7), 6 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. Here’s the Wolverine fan blog’s take on the Big Red. The Cornell web site provides preview notes for both teams.

• Semifinal winners, 7 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU

West Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.

No. 1 North Dakota (25-12-3) vs. No. 4 Western Michigan (21-13-6), 11:30 a.m.  Saturday, FS North (tape delay ESPNU, 11:30 a.m. Sunday). Note that the UND beat writer contradicts the FS North availablity. The Broncos are enjoying another good season, this time under new coach Andy Murray. UND will unveil their new jerseys along with other team notes.

No. 2 Minnesota (26-13-1) vs. No. 3 Boston University (23-14-1), 3 p.m. Saturday, FS North plus, NESN (tape delay ESPNU, 2 p.m. Sunday). Here’s Don Lucia’s take on the Gophers and the NCAA field.
• Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m.Sunday, ESPNU

Northeast Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
DCU Center, Worcester, Mass.

No. 1 Boston College (29-10-1) vs. No. 4 Air Force (21-10-7), 2 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU, 1300 AM in Colorado Springs.  The Falcons will have to contain BC 150-pounder Johnny Gaudreau.
No. 2 Minnesota Duluth (24-9-6) vs. No. 3 Maine (23-13-3), 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN3.com, FS North-plus (tape delay ESPNU, 9:30 p.m. Saturday). Here are multiple previews.
• Semifinal winners, 6 p.m. Sunday, ESPNU

Wednesday reading: Injury updates, more Rau

The bumps and bruises are becoming more serious as the stretch run continues in the WCHA.

Here’s an update on Minnesota Duluth’s JT Brown, who is out this weekend.

CC’s Tim Hall is out as well but a couple others are expected back this weekend along with updates on long-term injuries. With some injured players coming back, especially Nick Dineen and Josh Thorimbert, the Tigers may have a playoff run in them this season.

The Gophers  juggled their lines on Saturday, but its unclear if the configurations will remain this weekend against Bemidji State, especially with Kyle Rau back. Minnesota coach Don Lucia had no problem with the call and bu not so much on the one-game suspension. Jason Zucker, who was knocked unconscious by Rau’s hit, practiced Tuesday.

Mankato is feeling pretty good after a road sweep at last-place Alaska Anchorage, especially with only five defensemen making the trip.

Here’s details on the North Dakota at Nebraska Omaha outdoor game in February 2013. That will be a great early showcase for two members of The National, which begins play that fall.